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What’s hard about the holidays?

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   Thanksgiving is just around the corner and Christmas is only a few weeks away. People and stores (Who begin way too early. Ooo, don’t get me started) everywhere are gearing up for the celebration. Ever since my son and his precious family left for the mission field, spending holidays without them continues to present challenges. For I don’t get to see the enchantment of Christmas sparkling in the eyes of my 5 year old and 2 year old grandsons. The physical distance between us prohibits the gathering of family around the traditional Thanksgiving feast. Not to mention all the memories such an occasion inspires.

    Out of 4 children, their spouses, and their children (18 individuals in all) only 5 of them now live nearby (about a 30 min. drive away). That is, since one of my daughters and her family recently moved an 11 hour’s drive away. 

   Honestly, (just being transparent here) it doesn’t get any easier as the years and holiday’s pass by. I wish it did though! But, reality is what it is. Sure, I get more use to it. I find a routine that works and a mindset that obstructs the temptation (the fiery darts) to feel sorry for myself. And knowing those 5 individuals are close by reminds me that I still have much to look forward to.  But that is only part of my defense against such self-focus.

   Recently, I’ve been prompted to include in my prayer time a time of thanksgiving. So, I made a list of things in my prayer notebook that I was thankful for. After opening my prayer time with praise and before I begin my requests, I

Now spend a few moments thanking God that

my problems will not overwhelm me

He brings beauty from the ashes of my life

my problems can become my testimonies

my problems can work together for my good

I have His words to guide me

He is always with me and I can never loose Him

Next I thank God for

Jesus’s sacrifice and the sure hope of heaven

the life Jesus lived and the example He gave

the Holy Spirit’s constant companionship and the guidance, instruction, and encouragement He gives

   Being a missionary’s mom presents challenges that could be overwhelming. Yet I know God equips me with the necessary tools to prevent that from happening. Focusing on what I have to be thankful for is a powerful weapon against the fiery darts fed by self-focus. It corrects my focus and puts it where it needs to be (off myself and onto God). And I find a peace there that sustains me in this ongoing separation from  my beloved’s.

Apart but still connected!

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   It was good to get a FaceTime message this afternoon from my son, daughter in law, and their boys saying, “Happy New Year.” Those of you in my situation know the depth of gratitude we have for the media technology that keeps us connected to our families  even though we are far apart from each other!

   While, missing them is a constant, I know the peace that Philippines 4:6-7  speaks of that surpasses every thought. For if it weren’t for God’s grace and mercy enabling me to live life separated from them, I would not be able to grasp such peace. And the knowledge that my son and his family are happy in this stage of their service to God, goes a long way in fostering such peace!

  While it is never easy to live life separated as we are especially during the holiday season we find that it’s doable.  Focusing on what we have been given is a large part of what makes it doable. 

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   We anticipate a couple of more visits before my son and his family return to their field of service later on in the year. Until then we will make the most of every moment given to us and thank God that even though we are separated by great distances, we can count on Him to keep us connected!

Living apart; not desirable but doable!

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   When I think of my beloved son, daughter in law, and 2 young grandsons (one about to become a 3 year old) living on the other side of the world apart from me, I stand amazed at the work of grace in my heart enabling me to manage this. I recall those early days when my son and daughter in law first said goodbye to us and those lonely empty months afterwards. At times I felt such a heaviness I almost couldn’t breathe. But time keeps a steady pace and eventually the darkness of my grief gave way to the light of God’s grace. So, I know what you mom’s are going through when you send your precious treasures, your children, off to a land far away.

 

(If you are fresh into this life experience and you need a lifeline as you travel this painful path [no sugar coating here; it hurts], refer to my initial post, The Journey Begins, 1/4/2012. The the posts thereafter give you a transparent view of how God’s grace and comfort established my bearings. If you are having a hard time and need to communicate further, just send me a comment and I will give you my email address.)

 

   Now here I am 4 years later and in 6 months my beloveds will be returning home for a few months. No more video chats (for awhile) for we will see them face to face. No more mailing packages and wondering if they will ever get them. When we want to give them a gift, we will simply hand it to them. Ahhhh, how I look forward to that! When I want to read my grandsons a story, I will pull them up into my lap and let the enchantment begin. When I want to listen to my son play his banjo, I will simply ask him for a concert. When I want us to have some mother and son time, we will plant ourselves on the front porch swing or take a walk down the mini replica of the Appalachian trail near our house. My daughter in law loves to go grocery shopping and with a Kroger and a Walmart within 10 minutes from our house, we will shop till we drop!

   During those first few months, I couldn’t imagine if I would ever be able to talk about my son and his family without crying. But you know what, I can. Oh, I might still choke up a bit now and then. But after experiencing the constant love and care from my heavenly Father throughout these past 4 years in enabling me to live life separated from my son, I know a peace that passes all understanding. And it’s all a part of God’s plan to give us the kind of joy that causes the pain to subside and become manageable. And while I may not have desired to live so far apart from my son, I am finding that by God’s loving grace it is doable!

 

 

Willing to Go; Willing to Release!

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    I write this post for the benefit of the parents of a young couple I know who with their two small children are about to leave home to spend some time in training prior to moving to a foreign land as missionaries. 

     The separation these parents are about to experience is painful! And no amount of pride in their children for what they are about to do can lessen the pain they will encounter. 

HOWEVER,

     Having walked the path these precious parents are about to embark upon, I can assure them that even though the pain will be intense, the pain will not overwhelm them! That truth was my mainstay during those days and kept my heart from shattering. I refer my readers to the post below. (I have already referred it to the parents.)

https://missionarysmom.wordpress.com/2012/01/04/the-journey-begins/

    It’s been almost 3 years since our son and daughter in law left for the mission field (and blessed us with a grandson almost 2 years later). I have discovered some pretty wonderful things about God since that eventful episode of release.

God’s grace is sufficient in all things!

God will never leave me nor forsake me (nor my children)!

My joy can only be described as ‘indescribable”!

I have peace that defies explanation!

I have a new purpose (ministering to other parents of missionaries)!

I have been to places that most people only get to dream about! (and we are making plans to visit yet another dream place) 

     And all of this is ours (my husband and I) to know because our son and daughter in law were willing to go; and we were willing to release them!

Note to parents:

     There have been more truths that God has lovingly revealed to me but I don’t have room left in this post to list them.  So, my dear parents, just suffice it to say, that I wouldn’t change places with anyone after what I have experienced since my son moved to the mission field. You won’t either, I am confident!

 

 

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